The Chelsea Arts Club

Patrick Hughes “Sunlight”

When Chris comes to London, he stays at the Chelsea Arts Club, for some ridiculous rate like £36 a night. He does get a tiny garret room with the bathroom down the hall, but it comes with original Patrick Hughes works hanging next to the bed, and an incredible bar with a massive snooker table, and full of eccentric English types getting totally hammered.

The club was founded by James McNeil Whistler in 1891 as a reaction to the stodgy Arts Club in Mayfair, and cultivates a generally raffish, no dress-up personality. It is crammed to the gills with amazing artwork. Members include Peter Blake (who designed Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), Glen Baxter, Gerald Scarfe, and others. It’s in a low, unpretentious white stucco building on a side street in Chelsea, with a small and inconspicuous door.

One thought on “The Chelsea Arts Club”

  1. The Colony Room club is another art members only establishment located in Soho.

    It’s an art institution. Where the likes of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Michael Andrews and Frank Aurebach (post second world war expressionists) would meet for a drink.

    It’s the smallest bar you have ever seen. On the walls are pieces by contemporary artists Gavin Turk and Sarah Lucas (who was once a bar maid there). As well as the aforementioned artists.

    In the 50s Land Lady Muriel Belcher used to pay Bacon to bring people to the bar. Needless to say he was the life of the party, any party for that matter. As a homage to him a picture of the King of Macabre’s deceased body lying on a mortuary slab hanging above the bar.

    The beer jugs read ‘Cunt’, as in the 50s if you were liked you were called ‘Cunty’. If you were dislike you were called ‘Cunt’.

    Westminster Council is now trying to kick them out of this historical and well loved land mark. It’s a gem.

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